Author ORCID Identifier
Year of Publication
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Arts and Sciences
Dr. David Bradshaw
While most scholars know, or think they know, what Plato says about the soul, there is less certainty regarding what he says about the self. Some scholars even assert that the ancient Greeks did not possess the concepts of self or person. This dissertation sets out to examine those passages throughout Plato's dialogues that most clearly require some notion of the self or the person, and by doing so to clarify the logical lineaments of these concepts as they existed in fourth century Athens. Because Plato wrote dialogues, I restrict myself to analyzing the concepts of self and person as they appear in the mouths of various Platonic characters and refrain from speculating whether Plato himself endorses what his characters say. In spite of this restriction, I find a number of striking ideas that set the stage for further philosophical development. After an introductory chapter, in Chapters 2 and 3 I argue that the identification of the person with the soul and the identification of the human being with the composite of soul and body make possible a conceptual split between person and human being. In Chapter 4, I argue that the tripartite account of the soul suggests an ideal identification of the person with the rational aspect of the soul rather than the lower aspects of one's psychology. Finally, in Chapter 5 I argue that the analogical link between rationality in us and the rational order of the cosmos leads to the conclusion that the true self is, in some sense, divine.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Sheffler, Daniel T., "The Metaphysics of Personhood in Plato's Dialogues" (2017). Theses and Dissertations--Philosophy. 16.